Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I'm a farm boy. It's very interesting; you can detect self-starting characteristics in this society and they are strongest among people who have had some kind of rural upbringing and a very impressionable stage."
- Frank Herbert

Garbage Screen  
  Use of bits of metal to confuse radar targeting of space stations.  

"We'd better report this down to Earth," Joe said. "By the way, better not describe our screen of tin cans on radio waves. Not even microwaves. It might leak. And we want to see if it works."

Just forty-two hours later they found out that it did work. A single rocket came climbing furiously out from Earth. It came from the night-side, and they could not see where it was launched, though they could make excellent guesses. They got a single guided missile ready to crash it if necessary.

It wasn't necessary. The bomb from Earth detonated 300 miles below the artificial satellite. Its proximity fuse, sending out small radar-type waves, had them reflected back by an empty sardine can thrown away from the Platform by Mike Scandia forty-some hours ago. The sardine can had been traveling in its own private orbit ever since. The effect of Mike's muscles had not been to send it back to Earth, but to change the center of the circular orbit in which it floated. Sometimes it floated above the Platform—that was on one side of Earth—and sometimes below it. It was about 300 miles under the Platform when it reflected urgent, squealing radar frequency waves to a complex proximity fuse in the climbing rocket. The rocket couldn't tell the difference between a sardine can and a Space Platform.

From Space Tug, by Murray Leinster.
Published by Not known in 1953
Additional resources -

Later in the story, this method was formalized:

"Shoot the ghosts," said Joe.

The three drone-handlers pushed their buttons. Nothing happened that anybody could see. Actually, though, a small gadget outside the hull began to cough rhythmically. Similar devices on the drones coughed, too. They were small, multiple-barreled guns. Rifle shells fired two-pound missiles at random targets in emptiness. They wouldn't damage anything they hit. They'd go varying distances, explode and shoot small lead shot ahead to check their missile-velocity, and then emit dense masses of aluminum foil. There was no air resistance. The shredded foil would continue to move through emptiness at the same rate as the convoy-fleet. The seven ships had fired a total of eighty-four such objects away into the blackness of Earth's shadow. There were, then, seven ships and eighty-four masses of aluminum foil moving through emptiness. They could not be seen by telescopes.

The idea of using chaff (bits of metal such as aluminum) to create false radar echoes was suggested as early as 1937. A formal scheme to dump packets of aluminum strips from aircraft to generate false echoes was put forward by 1942. The idea was fully developed by both sides (Allied and German), but oddly neither side used it until almost 1944. The reasoning went as follows: If the other side didn't have it, if they used it once they would give the idea to the other side, who would quickly duplicate it, and neither side had a way of adequately dealing with it.

I was unable to find references to radar-defeating chaff used by space craft (maybe both/all sides are afraid to be the first...).

Comment/Join this discussion ( 1 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Space Tug
  More Ideas and Technology by Murray Leinster
  Tech news articles related to Space Tug
  Tech news articles related to works by Murray Leinster

Articles related to Space Tech
Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
Free-Floating Planet Capture Not Rare, Says Paper
Spider Flyer Walker Space Suit For Mars Astronauts

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.